Telemarketing recording legislation causes buzz

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With the combination of 101communications and Stevens Publishing in May, a new company was born: 1105 Media. Carmel McDonagh, group circulation director at 1105 Media, spoke with Media Business about the change.

MB: What has the transition been like?

McDonagh: It's been good, slow and steady. We're integrating all of the Stevens titles into the 101 database, and it takes time to make sure we have all of the information in its proper place. Stevens had eight titles.

MB: What's the biggest issue you're dealing with now?

McDonagh: The recording of telemarketing calls, even though [the newly passed BPA Worldwide rule, which requires telemarketing calls to be recorded] doesn't go into effect until 2008. My main book is Federal Computer Week, a title that obviously goes into mostly government offices. The assumption is that the people in these offices won't be excited about being recorded, but we won't really know that until we finish this round of requalification efforts.

It's really important for us to do this now. [Requalification] is something we only do annually, and I think if we waited till next year to test [how people respond to being recorded], we'd be cutting it way too close to the date when we actually needed to put things into action. So this is really important to us and, really, the whole industry. There's no way to know what it will do to response rates and what the expenses will be. Nobody wants more expenses.

MB: Have there been any positive outcomes from the telemarketing recording requirements?

McDonagh: Well, it was recently decided that you don't need to say the word "recorded" when informing the recipient that they're being recorded. You can say "monitored" or something like that. The word "recorded" really scares people off. We are conducting renewal test panels within various demographic selections with and without that wording to see if including this statement as part of the script affects response rate.

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